Christian Parenting Relies on Virtues
By Dave Pipitone
Christian parenting is besieged with challenges from modern society. Newspapers and movies are top media channels that tell and publish stories about the lives that are disrupted when parenting teenagers. More often than not, these stories hit the headlines about hormonal teens gripped in the throes of another melodramatic situation. It is all fun and games until they turn to the side and realize they have "one of them" sitting right there. That is when a parent needs the three strands of love, faith and hope.
Being the parent of a teenager is a lot different than having an elementary aged child, toddler or an infant. There are a different set of problems that are very age specific that each parent must eventually face. There is no avoiding it; countless parents have wished it could be so.
Parenting teenagers and small children all have one basic commonality. Both require a set of rules and limitations. Many parents look for help to establish the rules that work best.
When parenting teens, moms and dads can be effective by using faith, hope and love. Faith realizes that although necessary, painful changes are taking place, teenagers have an inner beauty that is emerging and will blossom into a magnificent adult.
Hope envisions that the growing process will result in a future filled with hope for everyone in the family. Love gives parents the power to be a channel of God's love so that teens have someone who loves them no matter what.
One example of a big difference is that children will not be dealing with issues such as smoking, drinking alcohol and substance abuse. Laws in most cities prohibit smoking and drinking beneath the age of twenty one. This is to protect children from harm.
Effective parents owe it to their children to enforce these laws. Parenting classes and magazines advise that most teens seek rules even if they do not outwardly show it. Telling teens to avoid using cigarettes or drugs and alcohol is a way to express your love. Letting them know what is okay and what is wrong gives them mature guidance in choices they must make.
Loving teens goes beyond expressing physical affection. Any parent of a teen can attest that expressing physical affection is a hit and miss situation. Teens want their own freedom and can be very self conscious when their friends are watching if a parent wants to hug or kiss them.
Don't let that get to you. Teenagers go through different moods and they will pass sooner or later. The important thing is to let them know that they are loved regardless of their actions.
Parenting teenagers is something all parents must go through. It is a rite of passage for both adult and growing child. It can be frustrating for both sides but there is help available. Many parents find solace in talking to other parents of teenagers or talking to counselors. A great place to turn to for advice is the teen's school counselor. He or she deals with enough teenagers to know how to communicate effectively.
Using God's gifts of the three strands of love, faith and hope provide peace of mind and the awareness that God is intimately involved with you and your children. Knowing that God is present no matter what builds confidence and courage.
It is not just parenting rights that exist, teens have rights as well. Teenagers should be allowed to express themselves within reason and always while maintaining respect. That is where the strands of love, faith and hope come in. They have the right to a safe household. They have the right to happiness and love. They have the right to a quality education and to have their needs met.
This may not mean the newest iPod but it means that they have food, shelter, clothing and protection from those that would harm them. Christian parenting of teenagers is a grand adventure and one that can turn out with a very happy ending. Using your three strands of love, faith and hope will help you stay connected to parenting teens when the going gets tough.
Christian parenting offers the grace to connect with God and teenagers by using a My 3 Strands Parents Dedication Card set to recall the gifts of love, faith and hope.